Portland to San Francisco Road Trip
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- Key trip details
- Day 1—Portland to Bandon
- Day 2—Bandon to Eureka (coastal route)
- Day 3—Eureka to San Francisco
- Jerry’s roadside assistance program
A one-way Portland to San Francisco road trip will take three days to complete if you drive about four hours each day. This leaves you plenty of time to frolic along the Pacific Coast, which is filled with places to explore—from boisterous beaches to quiet forested trails beneath the redwoods.
Being able to drive along the coast and taking in the gorgeous views and good eats makes for an amazing road trip. To ensure your drive goes as smoothly as possible, make sure your car insurance is up to date.
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Key trip details
Portland, OR to San Francisco, CA
Distance: 634 miles
Driving time: 12 hours and 53 minutes
Suggested length of trip: 3 to 5 days You could technically make the trip with one very long day of driving, but we recommend taking your time to get the most out of each city.
- Portland, OR—Half a day
- Bandon, OR—1 day
- Eureka, CA—1 day
- San Francisco, CA—2 to 3 days
Day 1—Portland to Bandon
246 miles, 4.5 hours
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by choices on the Oregon coast, with signs for a beach around every corner. Stick to a few key locations so you don’t suffer decision fatigue, and keep your eyes on the road, as it can be a bit winding at times.
This coastal route gives you amazing views and a large variety of options for outdoor recreational activities.
To get from Portland to Bandon, take the I-5 S to OR-38 W in Douglas County. You can then follow the OR-38 W to US-101 S in Bandon.
Where to stay from Portland to Bandon
- Bandon Marina Inn: This unique coastal boutique inn has a gorgeous direct view of the harbor. The rooms have a cute, cozy, nautical feel and every place you’ll need to go is within walking distance. Finding solid lodging at the Bandon Marina Inn can be a lifesaver when it gets especially windy by the seaside. Cost per night: from $185
Where to eat from Portland to Bandon
- Restaurant Beck (Depoe Bay, $$$$): This is a great spot for fresh food inspired by the local landscape, and every dish is made with fresh, local ingredients. You can choose courses or eat a la carte, but either comes with a lovely ambiance and an amazing coastal view.
- Local Ocean (Newport, $$-$$$): Seafood is the star in this seaside spot! Everything is fresh and locally sourced, and you can even purchase from their Fish Market to take their freshest catch with you. There are even vegetarian items on the menu for those who don’t eat seafood.
- Bandon Coffee Cafe (Bandon, $): Once you arrive in Bandon, this spot guarantees a reliable meal in hot or cold weather. It’s comfort food at its finest, with soups, sandwiches, and other hearty food that is finely prepared.
What to do from Portland to Bandon
Balance rock, Cape Kiwanda
- Stop at a roadside shack: There are countless small shacks you’ll drive by on your trip. You can discover all kinds of interesting characters on the Oregon Coast, many of whom have escaped city life and are living out their hippie dreams.
- Cape Kiwanda (Free): This natural area is located in Pacific City, about 100 miles from Portland—and you can drive your vehicle directly onto the beach here! There’s a boardwalk, dunes, and picturesque views over the ocean. Be sure your vehicle is equipped to handle the beach before attempting to get up close and personal.
- Neskowin Beach (Free): Located 20 minutes south of Cape Kiwanda, this gorgeous spot is known for its wide-open beach views without the crowds. Walk the shore or look for a trail slightly inland.
- Devil’s Punchbowl (Free): This state park is a further 60 minutes south and is definitely worth your time. The parking lot is close by (with bathrooms) and the stunning natural whirlpool below the rocks is unique.
- Heceta Head Lighthouse (Free): A scenic viewpoint that is a great photo opp with a view of the ocean. Yes, it’s touristy, but you’ll be rewarded with a postcard-like perspective of the Pacific Ocean roaring against a classic white and red lighthouse. This one is worth visiting, rain or shine.
Pro Tip Whew, there’s no shortage of gorgeous Pacific beaches on this leg of your trip! Some are a bit wilder and you may need to whip out the rain gear and hiking boots to tackle the trails. Others are much more welcoming, with a parking lot just around the corner from crashing waves.
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Day 2—Bandon to Eureka (coastal route)
191 miles, 5 hours
On this stretch, enjoy watching the landscape slowly transition from Oregon’s wetness to California’s dryness. It can get quite hot on the inland route, so be sure to pack (and drink) plenty of water if you plan to explore outside under the sun.
After leaving Bandon, you’ll just have to follow the US-101 S down to Eureka!
Where to stay from Bandon to Eureka
- Lady Ann Victoria Inn: This quaint inn is located just north of Eureka, but there are numerous charming B&Bs in the area where you can catch some zzz’s! Lady Ann has beautiful rooms and vintage decor, with excellent eats nearby and a prime location. Cost per night: from $120
Where to eat from Bandon to Eureka
- Chart Room Restaurant (Crescent City, $$): This local favorite is right on the water and offers a seafood-based menu. There are plenty of other eateries near the shore, but the Chart Room has a prime location and fresh, locally sourced, delicious meals.
- Wildflower Cafe and Bakery (Arcata, $$): Stop here for fresh and delicious vegetarian offerings. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and also serve great coffee to give you that boost of energy for your trip.
- Lost Coast Brewery (Eureka, $$): Lost Coast is an award-winning brewery that produces year-round and seasonal beers. You can get a filling meal and a tour of their impressive brewing facilities.
What to do from Bandon to Eureka
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
- Klamath National Forest: Nestled along the Oregon/California border, this forest is one of America’s most biologically diverse regions. With elevations that range from 900 to 9,000 above sea level, there’s something to see for everyone.
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park: Open, bright, and lush, these redwood groves are some of the most scenic in existence. There are over 18 miles of hiking trails and 100 campsites to explore, relax, and take the beautiful scenery in.
- Fern Canyon: A stunning riverside trail adorned with ferns and mosses. This is a great stop on a hot day since it’s mostly shaded, and has a ton of beautiful hiking trails to explore.
- Gold Beach: This city is a great place to explore on the coast. You can check out a shipwreck or even take a jet boat ride onto the water if you have time. Gold Beach offers plenty of interesting storefronts if you want to stretch your legs or pick up a souvenir.
- Moonstone Beach: One hour south is Moonstone Beach, a rustic area with tide pools and blustery windswept sand. It’s a bit exposed, so be prepared with sunscreen and sturdy rain gear (depending on the weather).
Pro Tip Don’t be afraid of dirt! If you do it right, a Portland to San Francisco road trip is bound to include some grime. Save the cleanup for the end of your tip and don’t stress about the mess in your car—just enjoy the adventure.
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Day 3—Eureka to San Francisco
271 miles, 5 hours
Try to keep an adventurous mindset and you might be surprised how much there is to see. Agricultural history, vineyards, and rewilding projects abound in this region—and it’s all visible in the landscape around you.
To complete your trip, you’ll just have to take the US-101 S down to Divisadero St in San Francisco.
Where to stay from Eureka to San Francisco
- Waterfront Hotel: Located in Oakland, this hotel blends the relaxation of the waterfront with comfortable, modern suites. An ideal location if you want to do some exploring and catch up on some rest with a beautiful view. Cost per night: from $170
- Proper Hotel: This luxurious stay is located in San Francisco’s vibrant Mid-Market district. If you’re willing to pay more for lodging, Proper Hotel has great rooftop views, impeccable service, and superb dining offerings. Cost per night: from $490
Where to eat from Eureka to San Francisco
- Nick’s Cove Restaurant (Marshal, $$-$$$): Situated on the shores of Tomato Bay, Nick’s Cove offers local, fresh, and sustainable seafood that is tasteful and simply prepared. It might also be worth checking out their 12 beautifully restored cottages.
- R&G Lounge (San Francisco, $$): Known as one of the best Chinese restaurants in San Fran since its opening in 1985. We recommend their salt and pepper crab, but you can’t go wrong with any item on their menu!
- Gracias Madre (San Francisco, $$): Gracias madre serves entirely vegan, organic (and yummy!) Mexican food. It has reinvented Mexican classics, such as quesadillas and tostadas—be sure not to miss out on their margaritas and desserts!
What to do from Eureka to San Francisco
- Glass Beach: Fort Bragg’s glass beach is a classic and unique pitstop on this route. The glass accumulated on this beach following decades of garbage being dumped near the coast—thankfully this garbage has resulted in something beautiful over time. Note that it’s illegal to remove the glass from the beach.
- Russian Gulch State Park: Located in Mendocino, this area offers delightful shaded trails and every NorCal element you could wish for: canyons, beaches, and headlands.
- Cypress Tree Tunnel: Take this drive through Point Reyes and keep your camera ready for this amazing nature-lined tunnel! You’ll feel like you’re in the Tuscan countryside, especially if it’s foggy out.
- Sutro Baths: These strange ruins offer an interesting experience and a lovely ocean view. Once the largest indoor swimming establishment in the world, the Sutro Baths is now an eerie ruin worth visiting.
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Jerry’s roadside assistance program
If you get lost on a road trip, you can always stumble upon a new adventure or get help finding the road again. But if you get a flat tire on a bumpy coastal road? That’s a recipe for a road trip disaster!
Sign up for a roadside assistance membership with Jerry so you don’t have to worry about a silly mistake, like locking your keys in your car. Jerry has your back with Uber credits, towing assistance, flat tire help, lockout assistance, and even trip-interruption credits if something major interferes with your agenda.
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